Kenya MPs vote to withdraw from ICC

NAIROBI - Kenyan MPs have approved a motion to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) following an emergency debate.

A bill to this effect is expected to be introduced in the next 30 days, after opposition MPs boycotted the vote.

The ICC has charged President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto with crimes against humanity, which they both deny. Mr Ruto's trial is due to start in The Hague next week.

The ICC said the cases would continue even if Kenya pulled out.

The charges against both Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto stem from violence that broke out after disputed elections in 2007, in which more than 1,000 people were killed and 600,000 forced from their homes.

Mr Kenyatta is to go on trial in November.

They were on opposite sides during the 2007 election but formed an alliance for elections in March this year, and analysts say the ICC prosecutions bolstered their campaign as they portrayed it as foreign interference in Kenya's domestic affairs.

The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse reports from the capital, Nairobi that even though the vote does not halt the cases, it sends a powerful signal of defiance to The Hague - a sentiment that is becoming increasingly popular, in Kenya and across much of Africa.

No other country has withdrawn from the ICC.

Kenya's parliament is dominated by the Jubilee coalition formed by Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto.

The motion, tabled by majority leader Adan Duale, said the pair had been "lawfully elected" and the government should take steps to "immediately" withdraw from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC.

The sentence stating that Kenya would "suspend any links, co-operation and assistance" to the ICC was removed during the debate.

Mr Duale noted that the US had refused to sign the Rome Statute to protect its citizens and soldiers from potential politically motivated prosecutions.

"Let us protect our citizens. Let us defend the sovereignty of the nation of Kenya," Mr Duale is quoted as saying.

MPs from the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord), led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, walked out of the debate, calling the motion "capricious" and "ill-considered".

Kenya's withdrawal would not bring "honour to the nation and dignity to our leaders", Cord said in a statement.

"Kenya cannot exist outside the realm of international law," it said.

Comments (4)

The Mau Mau won a recent victory against International Criminals. The world is watching as International Criminals get ready to invade Syria. The ICC only sees International Crimes as committed by Africans in Africa. Not only Kenya, but the whole of Africa, should withdraw from the ICC.

International Criminals - 9 September 2013

let us all withdraw from the ICC its stupid,,,,,,,,,

ndatenda tatenda - 10 September 2013

l think if the EU and USA leaders can not face trial under ICC,then AU countries must all withdraw from this racist Court,we don't need it all.

Hapaz Hapanyengwi - 14 September 2013

thats true africa should withdraw from from icc we gain nothing from being members no one from the west has been tried at the hague does this mean they are not committing crimes against humanity i wonder

africa woyee - 20 September 2013

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